Climbing cases across the country Act while there is time

It is worrying and if the rising graph does not worry the people and jolt the Government into its senses and get its act together, then nothing will. A look at the figures of the last five days should more than say that India is in the grip of a second wave of the coronavirus and one important, very important, lesson from the past is that the virus does not stay localised. It spreads. This is the truth and no one should forget this. The total figure in the last five days has always been qualified by the line, ‘highest in the year.’ So the highest, say on March 18 is ‘bettered’ by another highest on March 19 and it has been like this for the last few days, with each day outnumbering the previous day’s total and if this does not ring the ‘caution bell’ then one wonders when the people will wake up to the reality. This call is all that more important given the fact that Manipur has been witnessing the increase in infection in single digit figure for the last many days, but this should not lull anyone into a false sense of complacency. Remember how the figure increased from one in March last year to over 29 thousand today. And mind you the virus landed at Imphal from different parts of the country and soon spread amongst the people who have had no significant travel history. It is this which should keep everyone on their toes. Take a look at the figure. On March 18, the total number of positive cases in 24 hours was put at 35,871. This rose to nearly 40,000 on March 19 and on March 21, the figure had risen to 43,846. On March 22, the total number of positive cases detected in the last 24 hours was 46,951. All these figures came qualified by the line, ‘highest in the year.’ Taking cognizance of the ‘second wave’ the State Government had notified that all incoming air passengers from some States would be made to undergo RT-PCR test. This order was issued on March 18 and the States include Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhatisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana.
The decision of the Government is noted and should be seen in the backdrop of the rising cases in these States, but yet it would be so much more sensible if all air passengers and not just from these States are made to undergo the mandatory testing. For example, a person from Haryana or Punjab may first go to Delhi and take the flight from there to Imphal and Delhi is not among the places named for incoming passengers to undergo the compulsory test. So what does that make of the mandatory testing of air passengers from the said States ? No point in studying whether the incoming passenger had undergone a mandatory testing on travelling from Haryana or Punjab to Delhi. In other words no chances can be taken. This is where the Government would need to demonstrate that it is serious and there should be no loopholes. At the moment testing seems to be only for air passengers, that too from some select places, but what about passengers coming in by road ? A passenger, say from Punjab can easily take a train till Delhi, and then from Delhi to Guwahati and then to Imphal by road. Has the Government given any thought to this ? It is also important for the Government to remember that there are thousands of students studying in different cities and places which have not been included in the States from where passengers should take the RT-PCR test. How about returnees from Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kolkata ? The Government will need to do more than what is being done right now and this should complement its decision to say no to Thabal Chongba and Lila during the Yaoshang festival.